Arc of the Medicine Line: Mapping the Worlds Longest Undefended Border Across the Western Plains
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Written by Tony Rees.
Published by Douglas & McIntyre Ltd., 2007.
|Arc of the Medicine Line is the dramatic account of the
hardships endured by American and Canadian teams from 1872 to 1874 as they
battled the elements to survey nearly nine hundred miles of the worlds
longest undefended border.
The border between Canada and the United States was laid out in many stages over more than a century, but the biggest part of the job was the long, (mostly) straight line across the prairies. On September 18, 1872, two large teams of army surveyorsone from each countrymet at the Red River on the Manitoba-Minnesota border to fix, for the first time, the precise location of the 49th parallel between the swampy shores of Lake of the Woods and the Continental Divide in the distant Rockies.
Over the next two years, they endured snowstorms, blackflies, flash floods and the seething tensions of the U.S. Civil War, the Métis uprising and the Indian Wars, all the while mapping and placing markers across nearly nine hundred miles of unforgiving territory. In drawing the Medicine Line, they defined the final shape of a new nation and ended, once and for all, the old American dream of Manifest Destiny.
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This page last modified: December 17, 2009
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